The title speaks for itself on this one. Let’s say John Doe own an athletic apparel shop and decide to vamp up marketing efforts by dropping off business cards and hanging up posters.

He goes the library, some coffee shops, a few restaurants and some other small businesses. Seems ok doesn’t it? He can expect a steady flow of business in the coming weeks, right?


Marketing ineffectively is almost worse than not marketing at all. At the very least, he’s lost capital.

What John should have done is headed over to the local college, the YMCA, nearby physical rehab facilities, the town or city stadium to hand out his business cards and hang flyers. Why?

Because those are the places where his customers hang out. Those the networks that his customers are on. The same principles apply to social media. You need to find out which social media networks your customers are on.

Then, pick 2 or 3 (like Facebook and Twitter) and be active, be often and be real.

7 Ways to Leverage the networks your customers are on:

1. Use Social Media to Sell Your Products + Services

Once you understand which networks—in this case, social media networks—your customers use, you can begin to sell your products and services.

Most people hop on and off their social media accounts multiple times a day. They look at the feeds of their friends and families. But, they also look at celebrities’ pages, brand pages, etc.

What that tells social media marketers is that people are just as much “friends” as they are consumers while they’re on their social media accounts.

It’s a simple principle: if it’s your ad or face they see, you increase your chances of getting their business.

2. Manage Your Brand’s Online Reputation By Using Your Social Media Presence

Staying active on social media is also a great way to show off your brand to your followers. It’s difficult to capture the essence or mission of your business in two minutes at a dinner party or in a passing conversation.

Social media allows you to display pieces of your brand one at a time, so that readers and followers can digest your company in bite size pieces. Fun size?

It also gives you the opportunity to connect with people and show off your customer service as well as general friendliness and helpfulness on a public forum.

3. Establish a Strong Local Presence

#1 – #3 speak more to the general benefits of having a social media plan and staying active on social media as a small business. The next four, however, are the most important ones for small business owners.

These four address the importance of social media for small businesses to improve local presence.

When most people first dive into social media they have high hopes of reaching thousands of people nationwide. That’s extremely hard to do, especially without paid advertising.

Why get on social media, then? Social media is a powerful way to show off your products and services to those nearest you—i.e. those most ready to be your clients and customers.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Google+, and Linkedin are designed to get you in touch with those most geographically close to you. Develop a strong presence on social media and you’ll develop a strong presence locally.

4. Gain an Advantage Over the Competition

If you’re a small business owner, you probably don’t believe in using social media as a part of your marketing efforts. If you do believe in it, you usually don’t make time for it.

And if you do make time for it, you will probably be active on social media for about two weeks, accidentally miss a day and then let your accounts settle back into non-existence.

You shouldn’t let this be you. But, the good news is that most, if not all, of your competitors are probably failing to remain active on social media. This leaves the door open for you.

Be active on social media and your name will stand out from your competitors, giving you the advantage and more business.

5. It Helps Drive Traffic To Your Website

If SEO is important to you, you need to pay attention. If it’s not, you still need to pay attention.

Getting people to actively click on and visit your website is great for SEO, as well as boosting your rankings in search engines like Google and Bing. Activity on your website (like clicks, pages visited, time spent on the website) registers with these major search engines as a positive metric that your website is helpful to and used by online visitors.

Engaging on social media helps drive traffic to your website. The key is to post things on social media that are in some way valuable or interesting to your customers.

You might, for example, post pictures of a recent job you completed and tell people to click on the link to your website to see more.

Or you might write a blog about a topic helpful to your clients and include a link to that blog article on your website—if they click on it, it draws traffic to your website and improves your SEO.

6. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile…

Your alarm goes off, you reach over, grab your phone and turn it off. Then (still laying in bed) you check your texts, email and open Facebook. Then you check the calendar on your phone to confirm the day’s events.

The point is we use our phones and mobile devices for everything these days. Your customers are, like you, checking their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram account daily…and probably multiple times every day.

By having a social media marketing plan for your small business you can engage these customers every day and build a relationship with them. Do that and the time you spend on social media will be worth it.

7. Social Media Takes Time But It Will Increase Sales

Implementing a social media marketing plan isn’t an overnight victory. It takes time and constant upkeep. In addition to posting on social media, your marketing plan also needs to involve creating things like blogs, infographics, behind the scenes photos, etc. to post.

You also need to respond to the comments and other engagement you receive on your profile. You also need to work on building your following. You also need to…the list goes on.

Again, social media marketing takes time and hard work. But there’s a reason why so many business are doing it. They do it because it works.

They do it because their customers and clients spend an hour of their day looking at these accounts and are influenced by what they see.

They do it because it puts their business in front of people who know them and will use them.

Are you ready to get it going for you and your business?

Jeremy Minick

Born and raised in the mountains of North Carolina. Spent high school summers running sandwich deliveries through the streets of Asheville, NC. Has a strong interest in helping small businesses do big things. When he’s not designing or marketing websites, you’ll find him spending time with his wife, family and friends.

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